The Keeler Motor Car Co. is broadening its reach along Route 7 by moving into the former Clark Music Co. store, where it will sell cars not much bigger than the pianos the music retailer sold.
The fortwo, a tiny two-seat vehicle made by Daimler under the brand name of smart, will make its Capital Region as well as its U.S. debut this month.
Keeler is converting the 57,000-square-foot music store into a showroom and parts center for the three-cylinder car that first hit European roads in 1998. Since then, over 800,000 smart fortwos have been sold in 36 countries.
“This is the first foray into the country,” said John Sterrett, a sales representative for Keeler’s Mercedes-Benz dealership that neighbors the former music store.
Clark Music relocated to Clifton Park Center earlier last year.
Keeler’s Latham site will be the only dealership between Westchester County and Buffalo where the fortwo will be sold.
The Latham dealership will feature three versions of the car, which is 8.8 feet long and 5.1 feet wide. It should handle about 300 fortwos annually, said Maria Dunning, the general manager of Keeler’s Mercedes-Benz and smart center
“There’s not going to be many of them around. It’s a very exclusive group.” said Dunning.
Keeler will maintain and repair the smart fortwos at its BMW service center. The company in October completed a two-story parts and service addition to its Mercedes-Benz dealership.
The smart fortwo will be Keeler’s first new brand since it added the Mini Cooper to its menu. Other Keeler brands include Land Rover, Honda and Jaguar.
The fortwos are built in France and are being imported by Smart USA Distributor, a division of the Penske Automotive Group in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
They get 33 city miles per gallon and 41 highway miles per gallon, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new 2008 fuel economy standards.
The cars’ price tags range from $11,590 for the standard model, dubbed “pure,” to $16,590 for the convertible “passion cabriolet.”
Keeler introduced the smart fortwo to area residents in July by hosting driving demonstrations.
“We’re being environmentally conscious at a time when the country is becoming more environmentally conscious,”